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June 1, 2016 | Social Share
There’s a new self-service station in the terminal at Indianapolis International Airport, but it has nothing to do with flight check-in, baggage handling, or paying for parking. This kiosk has a very different goal in mind: saving lives.
In March, the American Heart Association unveiled the Hands-Only CPR Training Kiosk in Concourse A of the airport. The goal of the kiosk is to allow travelers to learn basic hands-only CPR. It’s one of only seven so far rolled out in American airports since the program began in 2013, but they’re already saving lives.
Hands-only CPR is a basic first aid method meant to resuscitate a person who has experienced a sudden cardiac problem and collapsed. It’s easy to learn, easy to use, and the American Heart Association says that it can more than double a person’s chance of survival when administered promptly.
The first of the kiosks to debut has been credited with saving a life just a few days after a traveler used it to learn the technique. In April of 2015, college student Matt Lickenbrock used part of a long layover at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to learn hands-only CPR at the pilot kiosk, which had been installed there. Only two days later, while back in Dayton, Ohio, for classes, Matt came upon a chaotic scene in a campus parking lot where fellow student Sean Ferguson had just been struck by lightning. Matt was the only one present who knew CPR. He went to work, and by the time paramedics arrived a few minutes later, Sean had recovered a pulse. He went on to make a complete recovery.
The kiosks have been designed to be easy to use. A touch-screen video gives a one minute “how-to” presentation to the user and then moves to a practice session on a simulated human chest made of rubber. After practicing, the user takes a thirty-second test. The kiosk gives feedback on the user’s effectiveness: proper hand position, rate, and depth of compression are all reviewed to help the user improve their technique. The whole process can take less than five minutes.
As Matt and Sean’s case shows, CPR saves lives every day. Over 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of a medical environment every year, and more than 20 percent of those cases happen in public places, such as airports. It takes an average of eight minutes for trained medical help to arrive, and the chance of survival declines by as much as 10 percent each minute. While medical help is on the way, bystanders trained in CPR can improve a victim’s chance of survival greatly.
The kiosks, sponsored in part by the Anthem Foundation, are seen as an effective way to spread awareness of the hands-only technique. Since it was placed in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the pilot kiosk has trained as many as 25,000 people. The kiosk has had an impact in other ways as well: A Vermont emergency medical technician liked the idea, but didn’t think it was portable enough. He’s created a smaller, mobile unit that is now being used for training across that state.
Hands-only CPR is a valuable technique for saving lives. Wilson Kehoe Winingham supports all efforts to make it more widespread, and we’re proud to have one of the first airport kiosks here in Indianapolis. If you have the opportunity to learn this technique, take a few minutes out of your day to do so. Your knowledge might save someone at the scene of a motor vehicle crash, a workplace accident, or some other unexpected situation where immediate help is not available.